How to Avoid Bright Shiny Objects and Stay Focused on What Matters Most

business resources Nov 20, 2020

Anyone else feel like the distractions and bright shiny objects are at an all time high right now? I have been noticing it a lot with my clients lately so I want to share the technique I teach inside the Lean Out Level Up Accelerator to keep my clients laser focused on what matters most while still creating space to explore new ideas to grow and scale their businesses.

First, let's level set on what bright shiny objects are.

I consider a bright shiny object, aka BSO, to be ANYTHING enticing that distracts you from what you should be doing.

When people think of bright shiny objects, they often think of that scroll-stopping post they see on social media that promises some sort of crazy results if they just follow the "simple steps" the person is selling... 

Or the 60% off sale email they see in their inbox that has them filling their closet with new clothes instead of filling their calendar with new clients. 

And while both of those are definitely BSOs, there are other types as well, and ones that entrepreneurs don't always recognize as BSOs.


1. New ideas you come up with

Ever notice how your new ideas are always "the best idea ever!" when you first have them?  And sometimes they really are an incredible idea.  But sometimes when you sit with them for a day or two, you realize that maybe they weren't as perfect of an idea as you thought they were...

Well those new ideas, whether amazing or not, are also BSOs that can pull you down the rabbit hole and take your focus off of what you should be working on right then in your business.

2. Ideas and advice from someone you trust

It's not always that random scroll-stopping post from a person you never heard of that's compelling you to take action on something new or different in your business. 

Sometimes, you get really great feedback, ideas, and advice from people you trust like your business coach, mastermind partners, or business besties.  And their ideas may be exactly what you need to do.  Or they might not be...

Either way, those ideas can become a BSO that pulls your focus from what you already committed to and what is actually most important in that moment.


Here's the thing - creating space to explore new ideas is critical when you want to grow and scale your business.  

Something I say often on podcast interviews is "If you're not growing, you're actually falling behind.  In business, there is no such thing as standing still." 


So how do you stay focused on what matters most in the moment but still be able to explore new ideas?

You leverage the technique I developed called Innovation Hour. 

Those of you who have the Lean Out Planner are already familiar with the Optimization Hour technique that I share.  Well, Innovation Hour is similar. 

I recommend that you carve out a minimum of 1 hour per week to focus on Innovation.

Innovation hour = protected time and space to explore new ideas that can help take your business to the next level.

It doesn't need to be an hour.  They key is that you and your team have dedicated time every week for innovation. 

Here is how to effectively leverage an Innovation Hour in your business:

1.  Create a place to capture new ideas, what I call your Innovation Hour backlog.

I track mine in, however you can do the same in Asana, Trello, or even using a google sheet - use whatever tool you and your team uses today for project management activities.

2. Add new ideas to your backlog as they come up.

Every time you experience something that could be a bright shiny object - a new idea you thought of, something a trusted advisor recommended, or a random thing that hits your inbox or your feed that you want to explore - take one minute to go add that item to your Innovation Hour backlog, then get right back to work.  

3. During your Innovation Hour, choose the most important ideas to explore.

Go ahead and go down the rabbit hole on the best idea you have in your backlog.  Research.  Experiment.  Explore the impact it would have to your business if you added it.  Then move on to the next best idea in your backlog.

4. Create systems for keeping focused and avoiding BSO.

2 of the biggest distractors and causes of bright shiny object syndrome is your email inbox and your social media feed.   Here are techniques that can help you avoid distraction, stay focused, and shift things to your Innovation Hour.

Manage Your Email Inbox

How many times do you get an email that you want to follow up on?  You want to read the blog post, listen to the podcast, check out the program someone is launching, or even shop that 60% off sale. ;)

I recommend you create a folder called something like "To follow up on".  Go ahead and move those emails you want to follow up on to that folder and review that as part of evaluating the most important thing to focus on during your weekly Innovation Hour.

Sometimes you'll find, it's not as important to take action on as you previously thought, or sometimes it will be the most important thing to invest your time into that week.  But either way, it gives you a place to move those emails that may have otherwise pulled your focus away from what was most important in that moment.

Manage Your Social Media Feed

The recommendations I share are specific to Instagram but you can follow similar instructions on other platforms as well.

Similar to emails, you may see posts that you want to follow up on.  Leverage the save function and create a "To follow up on" collection and follow the same step to review it as part of evaluating the most important thing to focus on during your weekly Innovation Hour.


How will you leverage an Innovation Hour in your business to remain laser focused on what matters most while still creating space to explore new ideas to grow and scale your businesses?

by Crista Grasso

Crista Grasso is the go-to strategic planning expert for leading global businesses and online entrepreneurs when they want to scale.  Known as the "Business Optimizer", Crista has the ability to quickly cut through noise and focus on optimizing the core things that will make the biggest impact to scale a business simply and sustainably. She specializes in helping businesses gain clarity on the most important things that will drive maximum value for their clients and maximum profits for their business.  She is the creator of the Lean Out Method, 90 Day Lean Out Planner, and host of the Lean Out Your Business Podcast


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